|SPEECH BY SHRI K.R.NARAYANAN, PRESIDENT OF INDIA, AT THE DINNER HOSTED BY DR. FRANZ SCHAUSBERGER,
GOVERNOR OF SALZBURG AND DR. HEINZ SCHADEN MAYOR OF SALZBURG
SALZBURG, TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 9, 1999
Your Excellency Governor
Dr. Franz Schausberger and Madam Schausberger,
Your Worship Mayor Dr.
I would like to begin
by expressing my deepest appreciation to Governor Schausberger for his words
of welcome. They reflect his philosophical interests and his historical
perspectives, no less than his generosity and hospitality. It is indeed
a pleasure to be the guest of one who has so insightful a knowledge of India's
Salzburg is one of the
high points in the world's landscape of beauty and culture, not just Austria's.
As an Alpine resort of rare loveliness; as a historical venue that goes
as far back as Celtic times; as a place of exquisite architectural marvels
combining Ronn, Benedictine, Franciscan, Baroque and Rococo styles, and
as the birthplace of Mozart, it is a place where Nature and Human Skills
have met at their best. While I was a student many years ago, I had travelled
in these parts of Austria and savoured of its delectations. To revisit Salzburg
is therefore a singular, almost entrancing, joy.
Today, Mr. Governor and
Mr. Mayor, marks the climax of our visit to Austria. This has been for us
an unforgettable visit, a veritable repast for the mind, the heart and the
We have had useful discussions
in Vienna, with H.E. President Klestil, Chancellor Klima and other dignitaries.
We had much in common to discuss, particularly as two democracies that have
just gone through elections which have seen coalitions being entrusted with
And now, after these
talks, we have come to Salzburg. While we have not been fortunate enough
to visit Salzburg during the great Salzburg festival, we have nonetheless
received something of the musical magic of Salzburg through items which
you have so graciously included in our programme. There are not many places
in the world where the highest accomplishments of the arts and the sciences
merge as they do in Austria. Einstein's interest in Mozart, activated by
his study of the mathematics of music, is a tribute by Science to Art. We
in India fully understand this, for India too is the home of mathematical
breakthroughs - including the discovery of the 'zero' - and is also home
to the highest forms of classical music.
Mr. Governor, as you
know, Indo-Austrian links go back in time. Balthasar Springer, an Austrian,
who hailed from Tyrol, reached the shores of India with the third Portuguese
fleet in 1505 and wrote a book about his travels. Later, at the time of
Emperor Joseph-II, an enterprising merchant, Wilhelm Bolt, commanded an
Austrian ship and sailed to the West Coast of India. He reached the Nicobar
Islands in 1778 and named one of them as 'Theresia' in honour of Queen Maria
Theresia. More recently, towards the turn of century, the Austrian Archduke
Franz Ferdinand visited India and, I understand, the original account of
his travels is also a subject under research and publication.
Indian art, culture and
ideas also reached Austria and the tangible proof of these influences can
be found in some remarkable works of art created in India which today can
be found in Austria. The Museum of Applied Arts in Vienna has the largest
collection in the world of illustrated manuscripts from the Hamza Nama (1562-1577)
which was crafted for Emperor Akbar of India in the highest tradition of
Indo-Persian painting. In the early 18th century, Queen Maria Theresia decorated
one of the rooms in the magnificent Schonbrunn Place with original Mughal
miniatures which are currently under restoration at your National Library.
It is natural, Your Excellency,
that Austria which is an important centre of European culture should be
instinctively drawn to Indian culture and civilisation. The Institute of
Indology characterises the interest in Indology and in India studies. It
is a matter of great satisfaction to us that the Austrian Institute of Architectural
Engineering is engaged in the restoration of a 15th century monastery -
the Tsa-tsa-puri-Gompa in our northern region of Ladakh. We would be happy
to encourage initiatives which would meet the desire of the people of Austria
and India to know more about our two respective great cultures.
Your Excellency, we have
been struck by the architectural grandeur of Salzburg and of this Residence.
The panoramic view showing Hohensazlburg presiding over the churches and
domes of this city and the river Salzach flowing placidly, as it has done
for centuries, through Salzburg is unforgettable. These picturesque streets
with their wrought iron signs and the noble architecture of the buildings
will forever stay in our memory.
We are aware that as
one of the leading and important provinces of Austria, Salzburg is also
an important contributor to the Austrian economy attracting millions of
tourists every year not only to Salzburg but also to the beautiful lake
and mountain areas of the Salzkamnergut. You have your own important role
in the national polity through your position in the Upper Chamber of Parliament.
We wish you every success in your endeavours.
May I once again extend
our gratitude to you for having made our stay here so special. It is indeed,
a matter of great pleasure for myself and my delegation to have had the
chance to spend a most enjoyable day in this important and historical centre
of Austria and Europe.